5 Steps for Success as a Massage Therapist

massage therapist

5 Steps for Success as a Massage Therapist

You’ve spent time and energy training to become a licensed massage therapist.

Now at last, you’ve graduated and are ready to get to work. But starting a career can be tough.

Sure, you’ve worked hard to get to this point. But the real work begins now, as you build a brand that will sustain and inspire you for years to come.

Whether you’ve just landed a job at a luxury spa or hotel, hospital or rehabilitation center, or have chosen to go into business for yourself, your ultimate success is entirely in your hands—both literally and figuratively.

You may be wondering how to optimize your success in a competitive field like massage therapy.

It all comes down to building good habits. Your habits are what build the foundation for a lifetime of success; without good habits, it’s an uphill battle.

Here are five habits that will help you build your business from the ground up and ensure that when challenges arise (and they will), you get back up and keep working hard to achieve your goals.

1. Stoke the Motivational Fire

Now is perfect the time to check in on your motivation levels. You should feel a passionate desire to start accomplishing your career goals from the moment you start working.

This passion indicates that you are hungry and motivated to fulfill your vision of success. If you don’t feel “the spark” of motivation coursing through your body, it might be time to give yourself an inspirational pep talk.

Psyche yourself up about the awesome path ahead of you. Remind yourself that your healing touch has the potential to improve people’s lives, and that only you can offer your unique gifts to the world. Recharge this way any time you’re feeling discouraged or unmotivated.

2. Polish Up Your Work Ethic

Your work ethic is what sets you apart from the competition and ensures that you go the extra mile to win clients, deliver superior service, and grow your business over the years.

Here’s a checklist of qualities that make up a strong work ethic. Always strive to be:

  • Punctual. You show up on time (which means showing up early) and never make your clients wait on you.
  • Professional. You uphold the professional standards and best practices of your industry.
  • Responsible. Not only have you mastered techniques required to deliver superior therapeutic massages, but you stay on top of savvy business practices that allow your brand (you!) to thrive.
  • Self-disciplined. You work hard, go above and beyond to serve your clients, and continue to grow and develop your skills of the trade.
  • Productive. You work efficiently to treat as many clients as possible while protecting your own physical and emotional wellbeing.

3. Develop Resilience

As with any job, difficulties will spring up from time to time.

How you respond to them will impact your ultimate success. Whether you find yourself struggling to build your client base, facing disagreements with a coworker, or getting burnt out by the mundane aspects of your job, it’s imperative to develop resilience.

It takes real grit to deal with hardships when they happen and find ways to overcome them.

When setbacks arise, carefully analyze the best response, take action, and then move on. If you must take some time to mourn your losses and regroup, do so, but keep it brief.

As long as your work ethic is sound, there will be new and better opportunities around the corner.

4. Build Strong Client Relationships

In your industry, developing strong client relationships is one of the most important things you can do to gain success.

The key to building solid relationships is engagement. Really get to know your clients and a build a rapport with them.

Learn about their concerns or injuries and be sure to ask about them at each session.

Show genuine interest in their lives and check in with them from time to time with an e-newsletter, a holiday card, or even a phone call.

When you let clients know that you value them, you’ll earn their loyalty and win many word-of-mouth referrals that will keep you in demand.

5. Take Good Care of Yourself

To give your clients the best possible care and build a stellar reputation, it’s crucial to practice self-care. Making time to nurture yourself is critical to being fully engaged with your clients—and remember, staying at the top of your game is mandatory in a physically demanding job like massage therapy. So be sure to set aside time outside of work to recharge. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep and exercise, and find an effective way to manage your stress.

Massage therapy is an in-demand profession with many potential rewards. But your success depends upon your ability to be dedicated, savvy, and hardworking. Adopting these habits will take your career to the next level and then the one after that. Grab your opportunity now and see where it takes you.


Paul Krasnow is a financial representative at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, and the author of The Success Code: A Guide for Achieving Your Personal Best in Business and Life.


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